fek big. "The bastards, the bastards," he whispered over
and over, cursing them, feeling trapped and betrayed. And
they were gaining, he knew they were gaining. They would
have fresher horses. Better horses.
" The last chance," Mr. Simmons shouted, against the wind
of their passage, "if we're gonna bushwhack 'em/'
Mr. Munn shook his head. He did not look back. He did
not dare, thinking how the last men would be leaning for-
ward, with their eyes glued on the vague figures fleeing
ahead, how they would be flogging their horses, desperately,
while the pursuers ckwed at their backs.
He took the last bend. There was the straight stretch to
New Bethany Church. Beyond the church the roads divided,
the lanes dropped off into the creek bottom, and into the
woods. If they could make it there, they could go back along
those lanes, into the woods, in the darkness where on the
padded earth a hoof would make no sound, and they could
separate, and the pursuers would waver and hesitate and
would not know what to do, for no man among them would
want to be apart from the others. But before that, there was
the straight stretch. It seemed more open than he had remem-
bered and longer. And a luminousness seemed to come from
the ground there, to make everything plain there, the pike,
the bare fields, the rail fences. The rail fences, like the
tumbled rail fence, he thought in a flash, in that open spot
at Murray Mill that night, that open spot that had seemed,
as he hesitated before advancing across it, so innocently,
dangerously empty and so light.
He did not hear the first shot. Mr. Simmons shouted at
him, " They're shooting nowl"
"I didn't hear them."
" Dura, I didn't neither," Mr, Simmons answered; " I heard
the bullet go past me."
Then Mr. Munn did hear a report. One of the men was
firing in answer.
"No good," Mr. Simmons called, "them durn little six-
guns; they got rifles.**